Parent complaint website just months away

By staff

Plans to set up a website for parents to complain about TV programmes, adverts or products designed for children are being fast-tracked by the prime minister.

The website – recommended as part of a report on the sexualisation of children by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union – should be in place by October, David Cameron said.

In a letter to Mr Bailey, the prime minister wrote: “This not only seems entirely sensible, but also relatively easy and simple to introduce; I see no reason why the website cannot be up and running in good time to get feedback from parents for our October meeting.

“I would be grateful for your continued efforts to help make this happen in the coming months, and ministers stand ready to provide support as needed.”

Comment: Why does Britain sexualise its young?

Mr Cameron is particularly supportive of proposals in the report which would reduce on-street advertising containing sexual images where children are likely to see it, help parents block adult content on television or the internet and end the system by which companies pay children to promote products in schools or online.

Several other suggestions in the report are likely to become law, however, with Downing Street making it clear that Mr Cameron is hugely supportive of the thrust of Mr Bailey’s arguments.

The range of measures include rules that would force ‘lads’ mags’ to be wrapped in plain covers, an end to the sale of suggestive clothing for pre-teens, cinema-style certificates for music videos and a new British Retail Consortium code on clothing for young girls.

“Sexualised and gender-stereotyped clothing, products and services for children are the biggest concerns for parents,” the report found.

“We are living in an increasingly sexual and sexualised culture. Many parents feel this culture is inappropriate for their children and they want more power to say no.”

The prime minister called the report “a huge contribution to an issue that concerns so many parents up and down the country and that has such a damaging impact on our children”.